Whether you are a seasoned agent or just starting out in Medicare, marketing is one of the most important activities you should be doing in order to increase sales, retain clients, and grow your Medicare business. After years of helping agents implement various marketing strategies, we are sharing the marketing practices that have proven most successful with our agents.
Before we delve into the strategies, we want to make sure you understand some basic marketing terminology and the overall goal of marketing. Obviously, you market to grow your business, but at a more basic level marketing is used to generate leads. In Medicare, these leads are Medicare Recipients that need or want to enroll in a plan. You cannot grow your business without having regular leads. Leads can be generated from various sources, including:
- Outbound Marketing: This refers to any marketing where a company sends their message or advertisement out to an audience. I.e.. postcards, advertisements, mailers, etc.
- Inbound Marketing: This is marketing where the company attracts potential customers via meaningful content so the customer comes to them (i.e. blogs, social media, videos)
- Referrals: This is when new customers find you via word of mouth; from both previous customers and other sources you specifically marketed.
- Customer Retention: We are including this here since retaining current customers is extremely important. Especially in Medicare when you get passive income in the form of renewals from existing clients.
Make sure your marketing plan is well rounded and includes an approach for each of these areas. The strategies below outline marketing activities for each.
Outbound Medicare Marketing Activities
As mentioned, outbound marketing includes any marketing where you initiate the activity and send your message or advertisement to generate interest. When used effectively, this can create leads and brand awareness with repetition. People are more likely to trust companies they see regularly. Also, outbound marketing can help drive more people to your inbound sources in order to increase your validity as an expert in your field. Outbound strategies can also be implemented quicker as your inbound strategies take more time to develop and increase your audience.
Here are a few effective outbound marketing methods you can use for Medicare:
Cross-Selling: Many agents that start Medicare have other lines of insurance they already sell. If this is the case, then you already have a list of current clients that know and trust you. You should reach out to each of them via a letter or phone call to let them know you now offer Medicare. Even if they are not Medicare age, they may know someone who is.
You can get a more detailed marketing approach tailored to specific times of year to market your current book of business by visiting our blog, Marketing Your Medicare Business through Cross-sellling
Conventional Mailers: If you do not have a current book of business, or you will want to reach a larger audience, then mailers can be effective if done regularly and using specific targeting and messaging. You can purchase mailer lists that target the specific demographics you choose. This can include age, location, income, or even ailment, depending on whether you want to market Turning 65 new to Medicare to let them know you can help with initial enrollment, or Low income demographics to let them know they could qualify for Medicare Extra Help.
Email Marketing: Medicare recently change the rules on email marketing and agents can now initiate unsolicited contact through email, as long as there is an Opt Out option in the email to stop receiving your emails. This doesn’t mean you can buy a list of names and start emailing them, since you still need to comply with the CAN-SPAM regulations. However, you can use this effectively with current clients that you have a relationship with by sending regular Medicare updates. You can also use it as website begins to generate email lists from your inbound marketing. These lists are from people who made it to your site and signed up to receive updates on the content you publish. You should research CAN-SPAM before engaging in email marketing.
Flyers/Signage: There are many areas that Medicare recipients visit regularly, including rec centers, retirement community centers, etc. Most of these places will let you post your flyers on Medicare if you ask. This puts your face and message in front of many to see on a regular basis, and you can switch out your flyers as enrollment periods change or Medicare updates. First, locate various locations close to your home or office, then based on the target market create an effective flyer with your Medicare message and contact information. This may be various flyers for different types of communities or recreational centers. For instance, if you are delivering flyers to a low income neighborhood then a flyer related to Extra help would be good for that demographic. Then, hit the road and drop off as many flyers as they will let you. Using plastic flyer holder stands is a great way to display the flyer if they do not have boards to post them up.
Did you know our agents can get Co-Marketing reimbursement for these expenses? If you are not already an agent with us, contact us today to see how you can benefit.
Magazines/Newsletters: There are a ton of magazines and newsletters published specifically for Medicare age demographic. These include magazines that are distributed to the entire state, as well as newsletters in smaller retirement communities that publish for those who live within the community. The latter are generally extremely economic marketing choices to run an ad on a regular basis. You can look up all the retirement communities around you, make a list, and find out who has a newsletter to run an ad or even write a Medicare article.
Purchased Leads: There are many agents who purchase leads as part of their marketing plan, especially in the beginning while they are building their business. These can be good for quick leads to work right away, especially if you have co-marketing reimbursement like our agents to help bring the cost down. Leads come in a couple of different forms, including T65, Supplement leads, and Medicare Advantage leads. You also have the choice between internet leads and live transfer leads. As you can imagine, live transfer leads will cost more than internet leads, but this can be offset because you have a better close ratio. It just depends on how well you are at calling leads.
Referral marketing: This is an important one where, if consistent, will pay off big in the long run. Referral marketing for Medicare does not just refer to when a customer sends a friend or family member to you for help. You should definitely always ask your customers to consider you for anyone they know in need of Medicare. However, a much more effective form of referral marketing is Provider Marketing. These are sources potential clients already know and trust, and people they usually turn to for questions on Medicare. They are also sources that don’t necessarily know all the answers to Medicare related questions. As you know from your training and certification into Medicare, it is very complicated. You can market these providers with two goals in mind.
- Request to leave client facing flyers in their lobbies, or flyers that answer general Medicare questions. For example, you could leave a flyer about the changes in Medicare regarding ESRD in the lobby of a kidney medical office, or a flyer regarding MAPD extra dental benefits at a dentist waiting room
- Offer your services to the provider to field any Medicare questions, create informational sheets they can pass out when they get questions, or hold lunch and learns to cover topics they need help with.
The end goal is to give them someone that is already knowledgeable in Medicare that they can refer questions and customers to. This has been one of the more effective marketing strategies used by our agents. For more information, read Grow Your Business With Provider Marketing
Carrier Booths (pharmacy/grocery stores): Many providers will set up remote booths that are to be manned by individual agents at various pharmacies at grocery stores. This gives customers the opportunity to come up with questions, get your flyers, and fill out contact cards to be contacted later. The location depends on the carrier, and you sign up directly with them for specific dates and times.
Marketing Events: These are carrier and plan specific events where you present a plan for the carrier in a group setting. They mostly happen during AEP, and you have to get signed up and approved directly through the carrier. You present the plan to a group of people and can sign them up on the spot. If marketed well, this could be a good opportunity to sign up several people at once. The carrier generally does market these events, however, the agent should also market to their followers too.
Inbound Marketing Activities (Make yourself the Medicare Expert)
As mentioned, inbound marketing activities are not direct marketing ads. They included activities intended to attract potential customers via meaningful content. This helps to further your status as a Medicare Expert and brings in leads as people come to you or your site for information.
Educational Events: Not to be confused with Marketing Events where you present a specific plan. Educational events are to cover specific topics that help inform Medicare recipients and answer general questions. These are a great to attract potential clients that are looking for answers and to generate leads throughout the year. By providing information and answers, you have the opportunity to position yourself as an Expert (yes, we use that term a lot but it is important for marketing Medicare since people need to trust you know what you are doing, and because most people are confused with Medicare).
Since there are various Medicare recipients, you can cater your topics to target specific demographics. For instance, holding an educational event on Limited Income Subsidy and Extra Help in a lower income community. You can learn more about educational events by reading How to Use Educational Workshops to Increase Medicare Leads
Website/Content Marketing: (including various topics): In this day and age, you definitely should have a website. Not just so people can find you online and see more about your company, but to attract potential customers via meaningful content that they may be searching for anyhow. What is meaningful content for online? In the world of Medicare sales it is anything that explains, educates, or answers a question that consumers may be searching. The short answer: A blog. People tend to look for answers on the internet before they call someone. Medicare is no different. By creating blog content that matches what Medicare eligibles are searching for, you can increase your site visits and include a lead generating mechanism for people who visit. They are more apt to call you after visiting your page and getting the information you posted.
Social Media: Yes, baby boomers are on social media. Facebook in the most prevalent for this age demographic so you don’t need to spend time getting frustrated trying to manage 10+ social media sites that they are not on. You can stick with Facebook (for now, until something else comes along that attracts them). Social Media is a good way to push your website content and provide more relevant content to your followers. Again, to increase your Medicare Expert title.
Multiple Marketing Strategies is Key
Now that you have several ideas to market your business, it is important that you implement several marketing activities and target multiple demographics at the same time. Over time, this will bring in more leads from various sources. It also allow you to test out which strategies are working better than others so you can refocus your efforts.
Keeping customers engaged and reminding them you are their agent is just as important as gaining more clients. They are also more apt to refer new clients to you if they have regular updates or communication from you. Read our blog on Customer Engagement HERE to learn more about customer retention strategies.
Feel free to contact us and learn more about our CO-MARKETING REIMBURSEMENT for agents. Our agents also have dedicated agent managers and a marketing designer to help you create flyers, postcards, etc, for free.
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